Honda workers in Swindon 'shocked and angry' at job cuts

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionWorkers told the BBC they were "scared" and "devastated"

Workers at Honda in Swindon say they are shocked and angry to be told that 800 jobs are to be cut at the plant.

The Japanese carmaker, which began manufacturing in Swindon in 1992, is blaming weak demand across Europe for the job losses.

About 3,500 people are employed at the site which produces the Civic, Jazz and CR-V models.

Engine associate Chris Moss said: "There are a lot of disheartened people and everyone is down about it."

Mr Moss, an agency worker who is employed at the plant on a six-month temporary contract, said all agency staff had been told they would be going at the end of March.

'False promises'

He said: "It's a bit of a blow. It's been a shock. It would have been good to stay on."

Another agency contractor, assembly worker Craig Lack, said he was "hacked off" as he had expected to be taken on permanently at the end of his six-month contract.

He said: "I was told at the interview process that if I turned up and did the job well, I'd be taken on at the end of it, so it's false promises, really.

"It's back to the drawing board now. No job. No money. I've got bills to pay like everybody else."

Honda has begun a 90-day consultation period on the job cuts affecting permanent staff, and says it hopes to avoid compulsory redundancies.

'Doom and gloom'

Online production worker, Marcus Smith, who has worked at the plant for seven years, said the news was "disappointing" and he was concerned about the future.

"I've got a wife and a son and mortgage like everybody has," he said. "But you've just got to come to work and do the best you can, and that's all you can do."

Repairs worker Brian Humphries, who has worked at the plant since 1994, said the mood in the plant after the announcement was made was mixed.

"Some people are miserable and all doom and gloom, and others have been alright," he said.

Another long-term employee, Ed Green, who has worked at the plant for eight and a half years, said he was "pretty worried" and planned to start looking for a new job immediately.

Image caption Production planner Carl Harris said the cuts would have a "major impact" on the job market in Swindon

Frank Fruci, a Honda worker of 11 years said he was "shocked and surprised" to be told of the cuts at the start of his shift, and said there was a lot of confusion as "nobody knows what's going to happen".

Production planner Carl Harris said he had been expecting the news because there had been a "few rumours going around".

Mr Harris, who has worked at the plant for 12 years, also said he felt the cuts could have a "major impact" on the job market in Swindon.

"But it's not just our place that's going to be affected, it's going to be support workers and other plants that are directly linked to Honda," he said.

Tony Murphy of workers union Unite said the cuts were a "tragedy" for its members and their families.

"There's no doubt these cuts will have a significant knock-on impact on the supply chain, and on local shops and services," he added.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites